Ural Federal University: Scientists Have Improved the Properties of Polycarbonate

Scientists from UrFU, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia found that gamma irradiation can be used to improve the efficiency of polymeric materials: to improve their morphological, optical, and structural properties. They chose Makrofol BL 6-2 polycarbonate film for their research. It is a flexible, lightweight, transparent polymer, easy to process, mechanically strong. This type of polycarbonate is used in the manufacture of optical fibers, protective screens, automotive parts. A description of the experiments and the results are published in the journal Physica Scripta.

“There are several types of Makrofol films. They have the same chemical composition, but each type has special properties suitable for different applications. Makrofol BL 6-2 is a translucent film that combines high resistance to damage and a high level of light transmission and scattering,” explains Soliman Tarek Saleh Attia, a researcher at the Department of Organic Chemistry and High-Molecular Compounds at UrFU.

The increase in gamma rays directed at the film led to changes in the structure (formation of new chains) in the structure of the polymers. After irradiation, the optical dielectric properties and optical conductivity improved in the samples. That is, the light transmittance increased. This, in turn, will improve the characteristics of various devices. For example, in inorganic LEDs, polycarbonate cover glasses will be able to illuminate more space.

Gamma rays also affect the morphological properties of the film. Scientists note that after irradiating the film, the surface roughness decreased. Gamma ray-modified films could be used for inking or printing.

“Polycarbonate is used to make a variety of items. For example, in medicine for containers, intakes and tanks, various kinds of tubes and connectors, and as parts of equipment. Irradiated films, due to their smoother surface, can better absorb paint and retain the data applied to parts for a longer period of time,” the scientist notes.

The experimental part of the study was conducted at the Nuclear Research Center (NRC) with the support of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA). In the future, the scientists intend to study how nanoparticles affect the physical properties of polymers.